When a Reddit user shared this picture of birds occupying most of the seats in this plane cabin, many people would have thought it was perhaps a manipulated image. But flying with falcons isn't such an odd idea in the Middle East and North Africa region, as you'll see from looking at how some airlines in the region explain their "unusual baggage" and pets allowances.
"One falcon is charged three times the normal excess baggage rate. More than one falcon per handler will require the booking of an adjacent seat. Maximum: two falcons per seat. Max number of falcons per aircraft type: Narrow bodied aircraft (10 FALCONS) and Wide bodied aircraft (15 FALCONS), instructions on Royal Jordanian read.
While pets aren't usually allowed to travel in the same area as their owners, there are certain exceptions made for this much-loved bird in the Middle East on Emirates.
"Pets are not permitted in the cabin, with the exception of falcons between Dubai and certain destinations in Pakistan," their rules explain.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has rather detailed rules about falcons: "You are permitted to carry one falcon on board the Economy Class passenger cabin of an aircraft, and a maximum of six falcons are permitted within the Economy Class cabin of an aircraft (country regulations may apply). Prices range from $135-$445 depending on the flight routes.
While its not clear whether the person traveling was indeed a Saudi prince or whether there were 80 of the creatures on board (like the Reddit post, which wrongly names the bird hawks, states), we now know that it's not so odd for falcons to give their flappers a rest and enjoy a getaway on the wings of a plane instead.